- A patent is issued to Captain William Sandford for land between
the Passaic and Hackensack rivers that becomes known as New Barbadoes
1712 - Part
of this subsequently transferred by Sandford to his uncle, Major
Nathaniel Kingsland, is deeded to Arent Schuyler.
1713 or 1714
- A large stone found near Schuyler's house proves to be copper
1715 - Mining
begins. Brigadier General Robert Hunter, governor of New York
and New Jersey, writes to the Lords of Trade in London (November
12, 1715) that there is "a Copper Mine here brought to perfection
[producing] about a ton in the month of July or August last, of
which copper farthings may be coined."
1721 - Frank
Harrison, surveyor of the port of New York, writes to the Lords
of Trade that "Copper Ore now rises very rich and in great
plenty in a new-discovered mine of one Mr. Schuyler in New Jersey."
1730 - Following
the death of Arent Schuyler, the mine is inherited by his sons
Peter, Adoniah, and John, the last of whom takes on management of
the mine for himself and his brothers.
1731 - The
mine, by now, has shipped 1,386 tons (roughly 100 tons a year),
making the enterprise a highly profitable one. Most of the ore at
this time is extracted by drift mining - digging into the side of
the slope between meadows and high ground.
1734 - To
ensure that the value of copper ore accrues to British interests,
the New Jersey legislature imposes a substantial duty on all copper
not sent directly to England for smelting.
1743 - By
now, drift mining is no longer productive, and the facility
has been converted to shaft mining. In this year a worker named
Malachi Vanderpoel is reported killed in a fall down a 100-foot
shaft. This is apparently what came to be known as the Victoria
Shaft, sunk about 1735, "reputed to be the first shaft ever
sunk in what is now the United States" (quoting the Annual
Report of the [N.J.] State Geologist, 1900).
1748 - The
mine has now been worked as deep as hand and horse power can
keep it free of water. Colonel Schuyler, aware of the use of steam
power in England, orders a steam (or "fire") engine sent
1749 - The
mine is visited in the fall by Benjamin Franklin, who writes
(in a letter to Jared Eliot, February 13, 1750) that the mine is
not being worked because of flooding and that "they [wait]
for a fire-engine from England to drain their pits."
1753 - The
engine arrives in New York in September in the company of a
young engineer named Josiah Hornblower and is subsequently taken
to the Schuyler property, to the mine's deepest shaft, later known
as the Victoria Shaft.
1755 - Owing
to various delays, it takes a year and a half to assemble the
engine. Sometime early in 1755 (probably in March), it is set in
operation, making this the first time steam power has been employed
in the New World. The Victoria Shaft is about 100 feet deep but
is made deeper as work progresses. As it becomes apparent that the
engine cannot keep this shaft dry, other shafts are worked.
1760 - A
new brass cylinder for the engine is shipped from London.
1761 - Hornblower
and a partner named John Stearndall lease the mine from Schuyler,
agreeing to pay one-seventh of the ore as rent.
1762 - The
building housing the steam engine is burned to the ground by
a fire "conjectured to be by the carelessness of one of the
workmen" (New-York Mercury, March 22, 1762). The engine itself,
however, may not have been seriously damaged.
1765 - Stearndall
and Hornblower are joined by Philadelphia interests and continue
the mine for two years. Then for two years it lies idle until operators
from New York revive it.
1768 - A
fire "on Monday Night last" (New York Gazette and
Weekly Mercury, October 17, 1768, announces the sale of his estate
including, presumably, his interest in the mine.
1793 - The
mine, which lay idle during the Revolution, is leased from Arent
Schuyler, John's son, by the New Jersey Copper Mining Association,
whose principals are Nicholas Roosevelt, Jacob Mark, and Philip
A. Schuyler. The lease required lessees to "erect and rebuild
a sufficient steam engine." The company relies heavily on German
miners who will work for low wages.
- The Soho Company (Nicholas Roosevelt, Arent I. Schuyler, and
others) is incorporated, apparently to succeed the New Jersey Copper
Mining Association in working the Schuyler mine. But the mine is abandoned
a few years later, and the old steam engine is dismantled and sold
in pieces. The boiler (now of copper) is brought by interests in Philadelphia.
The cylinder (iron) is believed to have been taken by a Mr. Crane,
a foundry owner in Newark.
c. 1814 -
The cylinder is purchased by A.W. Kinney, a Newark machinist
and spring manufacturer. He cuts it into two pieces, each roughly
four feet in length. One he uses as a pipe for a waterwheel at his
establishment; the other he sets aside as a curiosity, apparently
presuming it to be a relic of the first steam engine.
Cleaveland's "An Elementary Treatise on Mineralogy and
Geology," published in Boston, reports (Vol. 1, p. 557) that
"Schuyler's mines have not been worked for several years, although
the ore is considerably abundant; some shafts were sunk 300 feet
1824 - The
Schuyler Copper Mine Company is incorporated under the laws
of New Jersey, but reports differ as to whether or not any mining
takes place at this time.
1825 - The
mine is leased to business interests that apparently invest
a substantial sum installing a new steam engine and deepening the
mine shafts. But the pump breaks down on opening day, and the company
forfeits its lease.
1833 - The
mine is taken over by a British company, with William Tregaskis
as superintendent. As told by British author John Finch: "The
mines are now reopened... it is the only copper mine worked in the
Sometime after 1836, A.W. Kinney's shop is sold to David M.
Meeker, an iron founder, and with it, the four-foot section of cylinder
supposed to be a relic of the original engine.
1847 - The
Passaic Mining Company begins operations in August 1847, clearing
the old works, erecting new buildings, and installing new machinery
including a 40-horsepower steam engine. Despite a substantial investment,
the venture is not a success.
1855 - A
Philadelphia company, of which one Theodore Moss is engineer,
works the mine for two years, with little success.
1859 - The
Brisk Company of Philadelphia acquires mining rights. A cleaning
of the Victoria Shaft reveals a hoard of stolen loot, mostly silver,
apparently taken from Newark residences. Sometime after this, rights
are acquired by the Consolidated Mining Company, which operates
the site as the Victoria Copper Mine, sinking no new shafts and
using old machinery but employing as many as 200 workers at a time.
1862 - A
cave-in deliberately caused by disgruntled workers.
1863 - A
new company, the New York and New Jersey Mining Company, takes
over. The Victoria Shaft is sunk to its maximum depth of 347 feet,
and a long drain tunnel is dug from the shaft to the meadows. The
company employs between 150 and 200 men. Ore worth more than $10,000
is reported to be produced in one day.
1865 - The
pump breaks suddenly (February 1865) and the Victoria Shaft
fills with water. Workers flee, leaving their tools behind. The
mine is abandoned and remains in disuse until 1892.
1866 -A cave-in
engulfs a barn built over an old mine shaft.
purported relic of the original Schuyler steam engine, the four-foot
section of cast iron said to have been part of the cylinder, is
displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia by D.M. Meeker
and Sons. With it is a letter from Joseph P. Bradley, Associate
Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, certifying it as part of "The
first ever (steam engine)erected on this continent," (Bradley
is the grandson-in-law of Josiah Hornblower.) Sometime after this,
on David M. Meeker's death, the relic is given to Bradley's son,
Charles, of Newark, who in turn presents it to the New Jersey Historical
1889 - The
purported relic now is presented to the Smithsonian Institution
by the New Jersey Historical Society. In a letter to Samuel P. Langley,
secretary of the Smithsonian, Justice Bradley confirms authenticity
of the relic.
1892 - The
New York and New Jersey Mining Company attempts to revive the
mine. In an effort to economize, it tries to remove and reuse timber
pillars. There is another cave-in (perhaps a number of them). Operations
cease once again.
- The mine property
is acquired by the McKenzie family of Rutherford.
1900 - The
Arlington Copper Mining Company is organized on February 3 by
Charles L. Dignowity of Boston and William C. Eakins of Chicago,
with William McKenzie of Passaic as president, Henry G. Bell of
Rutherford as treasurer, Eakins as secretary, and Dignowity as general
manager - McKenzie supplying a substantial part of the capitalization,
reported to be $2.5 million. The company, expecting that a new metallurgical
process devised by Dr. N.S. Keith can make the old mine productive
once again, installs a new refining plant to produce copper by eletrolytic
extraction. But the process does not prove commercially successful.
Arlington Copper stock that has a par value of $10 falls to half
of that by the end of the year.
1901 - On
February 19 Arlington Copper stock is reported on the New York
Stock Exchange, apparently for the last time, at $4 a share.
1901 - In
November all mining operations are suspended. No copper
has been produced.
1903 - The
mine property, totalling 93 acres, is sold at auction September
30 for the benefit of creditors and bondholders. The buyer is James
E. Pope of New York.
1906 - Arlington
Copper stock is recorded as valueless.
c.1915 - With
North Arlington in a period of relatively rapid development - and
since no sewer system has yet been constructed - real estate developers
propose using the old mine as a giant, ready-made cesspool. No one
in authority takes the idea seriously.
1923 - James
E. Pope leases the mine area to a mushroom grower. The project
1930 - Real
estate developers Wilkinson and Solomon purchase the mine tract
for some $70,000 and begin building homes.
1936 - Romm's
History of North Arlington reports that "many of the mine's
shafts remain passable today."
1949 - The
mine is sealed permanently after several North Arlington lads
recount to their mothers tales of crawling through the old mine
shafts and tunnels, and the mothers take their fear and dismay to
the borough council.
1989 - Atop
the old mine, where decades ago homes were built with no thought
to the potential consequences of development, a series of cave-ins
causes grave concern. But speedy action, beginning with the borough
government, prevents any widespread damage. All cave-in sites are
eventually sealed. The only noticeable loss is a large tree that
plunged into a gaping hole at what was once the Victoria Shaft.